It is paradoxical in that its solubility decreases as the temperature increases, unlike the vast majority of dissolved solids.This decrease is due to interactions with the carbon dioxide, whose solubility is diminished by elevated temperatures; as the carbon dioxide is released, the calcium carbonate is precipitated.
The term “speleothem” as first introduced by Moore (1952), is derived from the Greek words spēlaion "cave" théma "deposit". The vast majority of speleothems are calcareous, composed of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite or aragonite, or calcium sulphate in the form of gypsum.
Calcareous speleothems form via carbonate dissolution reactions.
One of the main challenge of the technique is the correct identification of the radiation-induced centers and their great variety related to the nature and the variable concentration of the impurities present in the crystal lattice of the sample.
ESR dating can be tricky and must be applied with discernment.
A particular strength of speleothems in this regard is their unique ability to be accurately dated over much of the late Quaternary period using the uranium-thorium dating technique.
Stalagmites are particularly useful for palaeoclimate applications because of their relatively simple geometry and because they contain several different climate records, such as oxygen and carbon isotopes and trace cations.
Only a few percents of the samples tested are in fact suitable for dating.
This makes the technique often disappointing for the experimentalists.
Rainwater in the soil zone reacts with soil CO Speleothems take various forms, depending on whether the water drips, seeps, condenses, flows, or ponds.
Many speleothems are named for their resemblance to man-made or natural objects.
; Ancient Greek: "cave deposit"), commonly known as a cave formation, is a secondary mineral deposit formed in a cave.